Finding My Flow in the Depths of Soul Sucking Self Promotion

Here I was again. In a book store, standing beside the table that I had fussed over – making sure that everything was in just the right place. I stood up tall, facing the less than spectacular crowd, and tried to ignore the feeling of doubt washing through me. Thoughts speared my brain. This is stupid. No one wants my book. What am I doing here?

We’ve all been there. Maybe you have done a book signing, maybe you haven’t. I am sure, however, that you have all had similar thoughts and feelings in some situation.

A book signing is honestly one of the hardest things that I’ve ever done. It is soul sucking. There you are, like some kind of jack-ass, telling people as they walk by that they need to buy your book. Yes, I am a local, self-published author that decided to write a book because I had this deep, burning desire within me to tell at story, and you now, some random stranger who was just going about your day, you need my book. It will change your life.

Ha! Aren’t I quite the comedian?

The point is, I stood there feeling the terror build within me, but knowing I wanted to do this. I gave myself a talk. I admitted that I wanted to be there. I admitted that I felt very uncomfortable. I also admitted that I liked feeling out of my realm because I knew I would probably find some sort of personal growth through this. I needed a strategy.

My book will not change someone’s life. But it might help them to escape for a few hours into a delicious, dark world. When I started writing my book, I didn’t know if I could do it. Is was hard. It was gut wrenching, draining, and seemed impossible at times. But I did it. Success to me was was even for a few readers to lose themselves in the pages, just like I have with so many books over the years. I have already achieved that goal. So, instead of trying to lie to myself and my potential customers by telling them that they need this book, why not be honest and sincere? They want this book. It will be a dark, delicious treat. I do believe that – for the right reader.

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Many of the people wandering into Indigo/Chapters do not enter for the purpose of buying books. They enter to buy a custom wrapped gift for the birthday party they have to drop their kid off at. They come to buy a gift – a scarp, mug with some snappy logo, or discounted scented candle – but not to buy a book. Some of them, however, do want to buy a book, or two, or three. Not all of those people are here to buy a dark, twisted, 80s heavy metal serial killer thriller.

I took a step back and a deep breath along with it. I regrouped. First, I cleared my mind. If I told myself that my book is stupid, then how would I convince a stranger otherwise? And, if I’m was honest with myself – I don’t think my book is stupid. OK. So, I like my book. Other people have read it and really enjoyed it. Some people that enter Chapters could enjoy it too. Great. I fixed my thoughts.

I took the next step. I let go of all the anxiety and negative energy. I pictured it seeping from my pores and dissolving into the air. Great. My bad energy was gone. I felt good, excited energy filling me up. I looked deep within, finding my essence. I found the Bon Julie within me, once again.

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The final step I took was to promise myself to say hello to every person that walked by, and to simply ask them, “do you read murder mystery?” No matter how hard it got, I just focused on that one goal. Ask each person one question.

Some people raced by, purposely avoiding my cheery hello, and even going to great lengths to re-route so that they wouldn’t have to come near me. This become quite entertaining. Other people said hello, but didn’t slow down long enough to hear or care about my question. Some people, however, slowed and contemplated the question before answering, “Oh no”, or “I used to, but not anymore.” I even had one person tell me “Unfortunately not!”. Cool. Finally, there were the people that said “Yes”, or “Sometimes”. These people stopped. That is when I practiced my delivery of a few succinct points to make it clear what my book is about. The more I practised, the easier the words came.

The people that lasted through “hard boiled detective”, “serial killer”, and “dark” stayed for more. The more I told them, the more interested they became. Those, my friends, were my readers. The ones that wanted a dark, twisted tale placed in a time where technology was not in abundance. These were the ones that wanted to solve a horrifying series of murders as they read along and plunged into the dark depths of the tortured souls telling their stories.

As the day went on, I refused to back down. I politely said hello, asked my one question, and shared passion infused details with those who were interested.

I met two other writers. One of them is in need of support and resources that were so easily handed out to me when I started my writing journey. I eagerly shared what I could.

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I also met a very kind man who sat down and asked to hear about my book even though he doesn’t read murder stories. He was intrigued enough to attempt to read the opening scene. He shuddered, put the book down, and said, “Oh no. I can’t. It’s too scary.” Now that is a compliment if I ever heard one.

I also met a lovely lady, a fellow author, who shared her amazing energy with me along with a dose of encouragement. She does over eighty book signings a year, with a smile, and crushes it every time. She has put in the work and people come to buy her books. What a great example to present itself right in front of my eyes.

I did sell some books. Most importantly, I learned a thing or two about how to find my readers. As this year unfolds before me, one book at a time I will continue to find them.

I will close this post by telling you to never give up on yourself. When you feel uncomfortable, out of your realm, like you can’t do something – stop. Take a deep breath. Change your thoughts. Change your energy. Come up with a strategy.

Yes, you can!